How do I write a best man speech? What should I say? How long should it be?
If you’re asking any or all of these questions, we have the perfect answer for you. Our best man speech tips is will help you remain calm, cool and collected as you set the stage for the bride and groom.
Tips for Writing a Best Man Speech
Use these tips to help you write your toast as the best man! These best man “do’s” will lead you to a successful best man’s toast.
Make It Personal
Everyone loves hearing a speech straight from the heart. Whether it be a story about how you met the groom, an inside joke, or even an embarrassing moment, a best man speech is a great opportunity to show how well you know the groom and why he chose you to be his best man. A problem many people run into when giving a speech is not being themselves.
When giving a speech, and even just in general, don’t try to be someone you’re not. So if you usually aren’t the comedian of the group, save it for another time. And if you don’t have any particular story to tell about the groom, don’t force it. Our best advice is to speak directly to the groom and bride in a way that feels more like a conversation than a formal speech.
Don’t be afraid to speak from the heart! Many best men like to be funny, but a heartfelt speech goes a long way.
Take Your Time
During speeches people often speak very quickly and feel like the slightest pause or stutter lasts for an eternity. The reality is that the audience has a much different sense of time than the speaker.
Before you begin to speak, take a deep breath, control your heart rate, and just be yourself. Anything less than three minutes might seem a little short and over five minutes is pushing the upper limit.
Find a pace and cadence that works for you. No one is expecting you to cover the groom’s entire life story in three to five minutes, so instead just focus on what’s meaningful for his wedding.
Even though you may have tons of stories between you and the groom, your best bet is to pick one or two stories and spend the bulk of your time on those. Details provide a lot of great context to stories that others may not be familiar with and make the speech more enjoyable for everyone.
There are plenty of online tips for pacing your speech and other public speaking advice!
Use Humor (Carefully)
Jokes and wisecracks are commonplace in many speeches and especially in a best man speech. Let’s face it, despite the joyous occasion, weddings can be tense. Having to speak in front of a large group of people, some of whom you may have never met before, is a valid reason to have a little angst.
However, not only will a well-timed joke or funny story wake your audience up, it will also give you an opportunity to settle in and relax as you continue to speak.
The tricky part about using humor in a best man speech is that you run the risk of crossing the line. A good rule of thumb is to keep things fairly conservative in the comedy department. Save the raunchy stories for the bar with your friends. At a wedding you’re speaking in front of mothers, fathers, siblings and sometimes children.
Speak to Both the Groom and the Bride
As the best man, you have a close friendship with the groom. Hopefully, you feel close with the bride as well, but this is not always a given. Regardless, it’s important to speak to both the groom and his bride in your speech.
It’s okay to focus mainly on your friendship with the groom, but be.sure to circle back to the bride and their relationship. The wedding is about the bride and groom as a couple, so you should address both of them!
If you’re not close with the bride, try to speak to how happy she makes the groom or how you can tell they complement one another.
Although you may be best buds with the groom and have endless stories to tell, the main relationship to focus on is between the bride and groom. Happy wife, happy life doesn’t just apply to the couple.
On a bride’s wedding day the last thing she wants is an eccentric best man to steal the show. Plus, being the best man, it’s likely the groom’s new wife will be in your life for the foreseeable future, so it may be smart to get on her good side early.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Once you’ve written your speech, practice saying it out loud! The more you practice, the better you’ll do on the big day.
Practice giving your speech to friends, the other groomsmen, or even to your mirror. This will help with areas you may fumble over, improve your timing, and give you more confidence when it’s time to do it for real.
What Not To Do In A Best Man Speech
There are a few things you should avoid in your best man speech. Keep these “don’ts” in mind while writing your best man speech to avoid offending anyone or misspeaking!
Beware of the Bride
It doesn’t matter if you’re great friends with the bride, or even if you’re positive that she knows you’re joking, make sure to steer clear of any material that could potentially embarrass or even offend the bride.
A way to potentially avoid this is to run your speech ideas by the bride or groom to be sure there are no red flags come wedding day. Some topics to avoid would likely be other women in the groom’s past and also any information shared with you in confidence.
Don’t forget, while you as the best man have the spotlight for a few minutes, the day is about the bride and groom.
Don’t Rely on Notecards
Notecards can be a lifesaver if used properly. However, they can also make the speech seem dull and manufactured. I’m sure everyone can recall a speech read from note cards that seemed inauthentic to say the least.
Using notecards to keep the structure of your speech, share a quote, or even keep you from losing track of where you were going with a thought is fine. Anything beyond that, such as reading from a card for minutes on end is a no-go.
Out of everyone else, you were chosen by the groom to be his best man, the least you can do is speak from the heart. A great way to not be reliant on note cards is to practice and recite your speech before the big day.
The more often you practice and the earlier you prepare your speech, the more comfortable you will look and feel in the spotlight.
Take it Easy on the Groom
No matter how close you are with the groom, his wedding is not the time to bust his chops. Remember, this day is a day that will be highlighted in the lives of him and his bride.
No couple wants the highlight of their wedding day to be the joke the best man told about the groom peeing his pants. This is especially important because guys have a tendency to playfully tease each other more than women at times.
It is truly best to save the typical banter for after the wedding to allow the groom to have his prince charming moment with his bride. If you and the groom have a funny, back and forth relationship, self-deprecating humor is a much safer route. Instead of making the groom the goat of the story, share something that happened between the two of you where you took the hit.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to Write
Procrastinating your toast will only make you more anxious, and it gives you less time to practice and refine your speech. Don’t wait until the week before the wedding to start writing your speech.
Start brainstorming and writing down ideas a few months before the wedding. That way, you have plenty of time to write your speech and even edit or refine it.
Don’t Get Drunk
If you have a tendency to become stiff and anxious in public, you may try to remedy this by having a few drinks. We could not advise against this more strongly.
Not only do you want to avoid any freudian slips, the groom would surely appreciate your kind words coming from a place of soberness. No one wants to hear the best man slur through his speech! Save the drinks for after your toast.
What To Include in Your Best Man Speech
First and foremost, congratulate the couple. Nothing is more awkward than a best man speech where nothing is said about the newlyweds. This is a great time to tell them how proud you are of them as well as how much you love them.
Even if you think that it doesn’t need to be said, you can never go wrong with a little extra praise on a couple’s wedding day.
Next, introduce yourself. Not everyone is going to know who you are just because you’re the best man. Take a moment to share your name and how you know the happy couple. Then, dive into whatever material you have planned following our best man speech do’s and don’ts.
Stories, memories, life lessons, these are all great topics to focus on throughout your speech. It’s often helpful to pick a theme or an overarching idea that focuses your speech.
The theme could be something about love, friendship, or even something more specific that you can connect to the wedding day. This will give your speech some structure.
Finally, raise your glass and propose a toast, to love, to happiness, and to forever. At this time you may have a seat and exhale knowing that you have successfully completed your speech.
Best Man FAQ
Common questions about the best man’s speech and other duties!
What else does the best man do?
The duties and responsibilities of the best man are between him and the groom. Certain grooms may want to be more hands on when it comes to coordinating and organizing while others prefer to have someone else handle such things. At the end of the day, the best man’s job is to take the stress off of the groom.
Traditionally, the best man will be tasked with planning the bachelor party, holding onto the wedding rings, and of course proposing a toast. Again, if nothing else, the best man is there for support. If the groom has questions, complaints, or concerns, he should go to his best man with them.
Some best men go above and beyond and assist the groom with post-ceremony wedding responsibilities. These may include keeping tabs on vendors or even arranging and decorating the couples getaway car. The idea is that the best man can do as much as the groom needs him to do.
We recommend having a conversation with the groom and even the bride as well to discuss expectations so there’s no confusion.
Who should I thank in the speech?
Anyone! Just don’t forget who got you there… In all seriousness, don’t forget to thank the bride and groom for allowing you to be a part of their special day.
Additionally, you may mention the others in the wedding party such as maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and so on. There is no set standard or tradition for this so there is room for creativity. Just keep it short, simple, and sweet.
If you want to go as far as mentioning the parents or family members of the groom, go ahead. They would definitely appreciate the mention.
However, if you start getting into your family and the focus turns to you instead of the happy couple, that’s likely a sign to put an end to the pleasantries.
The best man’s speech is an important part of the evening, but it is also just one of the many events of the day. Be sure to make the most of your few minutes without taking time or attention away from the other activities.
How do you propose a toast?
There are many ways to propose a toast. I’m sure when we hear toast we all think of the classic silverware clinking on a glass of champagne, but the reality is that this is just a small piece of what toasting the bride and groom is about.
The couple should share an itinerary or timeline for the wedding day, which will let you know when your toast occurs. You should ask how to begin the toast – is it your job to get everyone’s attention? Will a DJ do it? Will everyone already be seated and waiting? The bride and groom should be able to tell you this, or you can talk to the day-of wedding coordinator.
Once you are finished your speech, raise your glass and propose a toast and the crowed will join you!
Does the best man give a gift?
It is both a great idea and expected that the best man gives the groom a gift. This is both to congratulate him on his life milestone and to thank him for choosing you as his best man.
The perfect gift is something that is of meaning to you and the groom. Whatever he will look at years from now and remind him of that time is what to go for.
The more personal the better, so look for something that can be personalized or customized. Some examples include engraved cufflinks, key rings, card cases and more.
The timing of the gift is also important. Some may choose to present the groom with a gift at the bachelors dinner or even at the rehearsal dinner. Others may prefer to give their gift on the morning of the wedding. This part is totally up to you. Make a decision based on how well you know the groom as well as what fits in with the flow of wedding activities.
It is truly an honor to be selected as the groom’s best man at his wedding. Your primary role is to support the groom and even the bride in any way possible. However, many of these duties get lost in the weeds as soon as the best man finds out that he has to give a speech.
If you are a natural and can stand in front of a crowd and fire off a perfect speech, congratulations. But for many best men, the speech is the most difficult part of the entire ordeal.
If you follow our comprehensive do’s and don’ts as well as our FAQs you will be ahead of the game. Remember to make your speech personal, take your time, and use humor carefully.
Conversely, try your very best to be conscientious of the bride, avoid notecards and go easy on the groom. If you have been asked to be the best man in a wedding, use these tips as an outline for both your speech and overall planning. Additionally, if someone you know is preparing to be the best man in a wedding, do them a favor and share this with them too!
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